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America: Imagine a World without Her Hardcover – June 2, 2014
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From the Inside Flap
Conceived in liberty...
...or in oppression?
Is America a source of pride, as Americans have long held, or shame, as Progressives allege? Beneath an innocent exterior, are our lives complicit in a national project of theft, expropriation, oppression, and murder, or is America still the hope of the world?
New York Times bestselling author Dinesh D'Souza says these questions are no mere academic exercise. It is the Progressive view that is taught in our schools, that is preached by Hollywood, and that shapes the policies of the Obama administration. If America is a force for inequality and injustice in the world, its power deserves to be diminished; if traditional America is based on oppression and theft, then traditional America must be reformedand the federal government can do the reforming.
D'Souza, an Indian immigrant to this country, and proud American citizen, fears for America's future. He loves this country and fears that unless the Progressives' anti-American arguments are met forcibly and on their own terms, America will cease to be the beacon of freedom and hope that it always has been.
In America: Imagine a World without Her D'Souza offers a passionate and sharply reasoned defense of America, knocking down every important accusation made by Progressives against our country. In this book, you'll learn:
- Why it is a pernicious myth that English colonists "stole" America from the Indians or that American settlers and soldiers "stole" the southwest from Mexico
- Why the descendants of slavesand the successive waves of immigrants to the United Statesare better off here than in their old countries
- How America, more than any other country, is based on rewarding the enterprise and hard-work of the common man
- How traditional American virtues sustain prosperity and freedom, and Progressive arguments about "liberation" and "justice" undercut them
- How Progressive demagoguery about "inequality" expands the power of government and its grasp on the taxpayer's wallet
- Why we should fear the Progressive agenda of "reform" which is in fact an agenda of totalitarian control of the state over the individual
- Why national decline is a choice--a choice that it is still not too late to reverse
Provocative in its analysis, stunning in its conclusions, Dinesh D'Souza's America will be the most talked about book of the year.
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The idea of this book isn't that America is about to disappear any time soon, but rather that we are in the middle of a fundamental transformation so profound and severe that it changes what America is and her place in the world. Essentially, the country will have the same name, but the new management has transformed it from its traditional principles to radically new ideas completely disconnected from and antithetical to those of its founding and history. I think we can see this clearly. Of course, if you like the new ideas, you think it is a wonderful thing. If, like me, you despise the new ideas and revere the founding and traditions, you are horrified by what is taking place. But that it is taking place seems obvious and not debatable to me. How about you?
He sets up the argument that the end of American Civilization is the end of Western Civilization since Europe is already in thrall to the Left and Socialist ideals. He points out that the external threats we see to America are not the real problem, but the replacement of our Constitution and our Founding principles with these new ideals. And what are they? He uses as an illustrative point the view of America held by two influential Frenchmen. For the Founding we get the case made about what America was by Alexis de Tocqueville in his famous and important book "Democracy in America". And for the new ideas that are rapidly replacing our Founding we get Michel Foucault, whom the author knew when he was a student at Dartmouth and Foucault was a teacher there. One is an ideology of action, energy, confidence, liberty, and real progress. The other is a political ideology of power, government, resentment, dependence, and futility. America used to be about leaving the country richer for the next generation. Present America is about spending the livelihood of generations yet unborn and sticking them with the tab.
As Madison, Jefferson, Washington, and all our Founders understood, government is necessary and useful for some things. But it is oppression and must be limited and contained and used properly as a fire can be used to heat the home and cook food. Left to itself, government will, like a fire let out of control, consume everything and destroy the entire house and destroy the lives of the people who used to inhabit the home. How many times do we have to relearn the lesson that men and women are not angels and will misuse power for their own purposes if left without constraint?
We also get to see how Obama was raised by Leftists, sought out Leftists, was educated by Socialists and Communists, and has friendships with radicals such as Bill Ayers, Edward Said, Robert Mangabeira Unger, and Jeremiah Wright. There are many others. D'Souza also recounts his own conversation with Allen Ginsberg while at Dartmouth and how this influence sprang from the same anti-Founding Socialism that Obama drank deeply from while growing up. Their basic belief is that America obtained all its riches by stealing it from others and that it must be dismantled and the wealth returned. America's moral guilt is otherwise irredeemable. We must retreat from the world stage and allow others to take center stage and assert their values (whatever those may be). And anything done in the service of making that happen is justifiable and "true" no matter who it conflicts with trivialities like facts and historical truth. Ideology is all that matters and the power to implement it constitutes all that is true.
We are introduced to Saul Alinsky, his principles and methods, and how they influence not just Obama, but the Clintons and all their associates on the far Left today. As the author points out: the commonplace is that if we elect Hillary in 2016 we get Bill. But we also get Saul and all his baggage, as well.
D'Souza also examines the very effective tool used today; especially in our schools, universities, and in our mass media. It is the idea that our values today are suitable for judging all previous eras (as if the future will have the same values we hold and will not misunderstand and misjudge us as we do those in the past). Of course, they teach the idea that we "stole" America from its original inhabitants. The role of conquest among all peoples and nations is never taught and usually condemned only in Europe and especially by America. D'Souza demonstrates the tribal wars and extinctions of people and tribes among the Native Americans at the hands of other Native Americans. Of course, they did not view themselves as one people. They engaged in brutal attacks on each other and engaged in continual dispossession of the lands and lives of other groups. They were anything but the peaceful philosopher innocents of the Leftist imagination. The same is true of the Southwest and Far Western United States and our wars with Mexico. The land became part of America, but the property rights of Mexicans were recognized and formerly Mexican residents became American citizens. Nor did the vast majority of these newly minted Americans seek to leave their new country and return to Mexico.
D'Souza also examines the horrors of slavery and the idea of reparations and colonization (separating the former slaves to another country of their own) at the time immediately following the Civil War. Frederick Douglass was among those who rejected both. He wanted his people to stand on their own two legs and no longer to be dependent on the white man or the government for protection different from any other citizen. Frederick Douglass understood that America was founded by white men, but refused to see it as a white man's country. So we should today. The author also has a chapter comparing the ideals espoused by Douglass and Booker T. Washington compared to those of the modern Civil Rights leaders from DuBois through the NAACP and Michael Eric Dyson. He notes that Martin Luther King thanks Thomas Jefferson for providing the moral basis for the liberty and rights of all citizens, including blacks.
This book also contains a spirited defense of the virtue of prosperity and the morality of free markets. He shoots down the notions of America as an exploitive evil empire oppressing all but the elite. Along the way he also criticizes the present day GOP for being so inept in its espousing these principles. D'Souza sees exploitation of the poor and labor by Progressives and their bureaucracies than by the freedom to work and thrive by your own hard work and wits. It is government cronyism that stifles economic growth and freezes out competition from smaller businesses and the formation of new businesses. He points the finger at modern redistributionist government as the biggest thief of all. Not only in the direct appropriation of dollars from the politically unfavored to the politically favored, but through massive and expensive and freedom destroying regulation.
Moreover, he sees this ever larger more intrusive government as a prison. He refers to the American Panopticon; referring to prison design by Jeremy Bentham where the prisoners where kept under constant observation. It is a design that has rarely been used. However, with today's technology, oppressive laws, regulations, and ever more demanding government, we are all living in a prison of our government's making in order to be kept "safe". This capitulation to central authority demonstrates how we are losing our way as a nation and losing our will to resist this loss of freedom and liberty.
D'Souza ends by reminding us that decline is a choice, not an inevitability.
I really like this book. My one quibble is that I think D'Souza at times dresses up his arguments with biasing detail such as discussing Foucault's homosexuality and penchant for sex with strangers and teenage boys. How does this help the core idea he is trying to make? And it invites opponents to resist with side arguments of their own. He does this kind of argument by defaming a few times and while always true, they seem a bit cheap to me. But the sensationalism probably helps sell more books and tickets. Oh, well. Still, it is a good book. I recommend that you get it and read it.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI
Despite the temporary setbacks in the nation, given an out-of control government; profligate public expenditures with a monstrously escalating national debt; the abuses and corruption of the redistributive welfare state, maintained by an increasing tax burden on middle class Americans; and the prevailing progressive accusatory views in liberal academia, progressive Hollywood, and the popular culture -- D'Souza thinks America is still great and worth defending.
In America: Imagine a World without Her, D'Souza mounts a formidable defense of America's traditional values and debunks the progressive arguments that America is a force for inequality and injustice needing to be reformed under the aegis of an all-powerful but caring federal government.
It is ironic that it has been not only Tea Party activists, but distinguished conservative authors, including Dinesh D'Souza and the neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, who have been single out for political IRS investigations and harassment. One suspects this is for their outspoken conservative views, such as those espoused in their recent books, including this magnificent tome, America: Imagine a World without Her.
Once again, as he did with his 2012 masterful documentary 2016 Obama's America, Dinesh D'Souza should be commended for a well-reasoned book, historical research uncovering the goodness of America, writing another exemplary book defending America's legacy of conservative values, and refuting her liberal "do-gooders" detractors. I suspect that conservatives will love this book; apolitical people will be given a lot to think about; but liberals and progressives will attack it because it deflates their liberal cliches and faulty but impassioned arguments searching for nonexistent utopias and castles in the air, every place else, but not in the U.S.A! Get this book and read it, so you too can defend America and her values of freedom and opportunity for all, with sound logic, historical examples, and the valuable insights of this great American.
The reviewer Dr. Miguel Faria is a retired Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, medical historian, and an Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). He is the author of numerous articles on politics, history, and science, including "Stalin's Mysterious Death" (2011) and "The Political Spectrum -- From the Extreme Right and Anarchism to the Extreme Left and Communism" (2011.
Growing up I dreamed about coming to America. I didn't dream about coming to North Korea or Cuba.
I have always believed in American values and principles.